A Slovak, a Brit, and an Albertan walk into an apartment – this might sound like the start of a joke, but it was actually a visit we had this summer with dear friends we made in Slovakia. It was wonderful and life-giving to have friends from one chapter of our lives be present in another chapter. Stories, memories, laughter, and Slovak (yes, the language), were all heard in our home.
When it was time for them to go, I (Matthew) stood outside to see them off at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. As their vehicle pulled out of sight down the hill we call presently home, I was struck with the thought, “there goes a chapter of your life”. It hit me hard. That moment was unexpectedly powerful and probably far too gripping for not yet being fully awake.
Was I supposed to say goodbye to Europe – our first love? Was I about to replace our first love with some unknown second love?
Racing inside I sat down on the couch confronted with this blossoming dynamic between my first and second loves. My thoughts returned to the birth of our kids.
Before our first child was born I remember thinking that I was already using all of my love – friends, family, faith, chocolate. I had no spare love just laying around. And yet when he entered the world, my heart grew 10 sizes and I loved him simply because he exists.
19 months later I found myself holding a new little life in my arms, so small and full of promise. After overcoming an initial panicked reaction of, “I don’t think I love her”, I once again became aware that my heart had grown and where there had been no unused love lounging about, there was now an abundance of love awash for my daughter.
The second love did nothing to diminish or restrict the first love.
My love for one child does not take away from my love for the other. Even when I am with one and not the other, it does not change how I love them.
We will always love Europe. She is our first love and we remain convinced that her role in our future as a global community cannot be overlooked. She needs our prayers, deserves our efforts, and has earned our adoration. We miss her daily.
With that said, we feel asked to pursue a second love – Thailand and South East Asia. She is a mystery to us. She is enticing and scary and worlds away.
There is still so much we are putting together, but what we do know is that God keeps expanding our capacity to love.